WHITEWATER — University of Wisconsin-Whitewater graduate John Larimer was one of the 12 people killed last July when a gunman opened fire in a Colorado movie theater.
John’s father Scott Larimer travels from state to state to re-enact the Civil War and the War of 1812. It’s little surprise his son, John, majored in history at UW-Whitewater. UW-Whitewater History Department Chair Anthony Gulig said, “In fact, he became active in that honors society very early in his academic career. Usually we have students whoa re juniors and seniors who are very active in Phi Alpha Theta. John became very active in that organization when he was a sophomore.”
After leaving Whitewater, Larimer became a fourth-generation sailor. The Navy stationed him in Aurora, Colorado. Just a couple months after arriving at his new home, Larimer was killed in the mass shooting that claimed 11 other lives.
Ryan Burbach and Kelly Kvammen, both board members of Phi Alpha Theta, approached history chair Anthony Gulig wanting to honor Larimer. The group decided a monument wasn’t enough. Scott Larimer said, “When we got the letter we talked about it as a family. We’re a very close family, so John’s one other brother and three sisters, we chatted about it and I don’t think it took very long to think this was a very good idea.”
With the family’s approval, the John T. Larimer scholarship was formed. The annual scholarship will be awarded to a history major or minor. In death John Larimer is now helping someone else make history.